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PHILOSOPHY 



DEVOLUTION 



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THE GENERAL LIBRARIES 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN 

PRESENTED BY 



Dr. William S. Livingston 






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THE PHILOSOPHY 
OF THE REVOLUTION 



BOOK I 



"MONDIAUS" Press — Cairo. 




\ 




Gamal AltcEei Nasser 






INTRODUCTION 



These impressions on the Philosophy of the Revolu- 
tion were not meant to be published as a book. 

Neither are they an attempt to explain the events 
of the Revolution of July 23rd and its objectives. 

They aim at something else altogether. 

They are like a reconnaissance-patrol. They are an 
effort to explore within ourselves who we are and what 
our role in the successive stages of the history of Egypt 
really is. 

They are an attempt to explore the conditions sur- 
rounding us, past, present and future, and find out the 
path along which we can proceed. 

They are an effort to find out objectives we should 
aim at and the energy we should mobilise to achieve 
those objectives. 

They are an attempt to discover the pattern of our 
environment so that we should know that we do not 
live on an isolated island surrounded with water on 
every side. 

Such is the object I aim at: a mere patrol in the 
field in which we are fighting our greatest battle for 
the liberation of our country from all fetters and 
shackles. 



PART I. 



It is not philosophy — Attempts which failed — - 
Not a mere mutiny — We were in Palestine and our 
dreams were in Egypt —-- Ahmed Abdel Aziz before 
his death — A lesson from Israel — Schooldays — 
Truth and leisure — Why was it essential that the 
Army shoidd move ? — The complete picture — 
The vanguard and the mass- formations — Ideals and 
aspirations — A typical member of the Revolution 
Council — Psychological crisis — Two revolutions at 
the same time — To prevent an accident on the way. 



Before proceeding with this discourse I would like to 
pause for a while at the word "Philosophy". It looks 
big and grand. As I see it, I feel I am facing a world 
that has no boundaries. I have within me a secret feel- 
ing hindering me from plunging into a bottomless sea. 
From the shore I stand upon, I cannot see the other 
side. The truth is I am anxious to avoid the use of the 
word "Philosophy" with reference to what I shall say. 
I find it difficult to discuss the Philosophy of the Revo- 
lution for two reasons: First, the Philosophy of the 
Revolution of July 23rd should be treated by professors 
who should search deeply into it for the roots spreading 
at the very depth of the history of our people. The 
stories of national struggles have no gaps that can be 
filled with nonsense. Neither have they the surprises 
that spring into existence without preludes. 

The struggle of any nation in its successive genera- 
tions is a structure that rises one stone upon another. 
And as each stone lies solidly on another, so do the 
events of the struggle. Each event is the outcome of 
its predecessors, and is, at the same time, an introduc- 
tion to something still in the lap of the unknown. 



* 



10 



I do not pretend to be & professor of history, This 
is the last thing I would dare to imagine. Nevertheless, 
if I were to attempt to study the story of our struggle 
like a school-boy just beginning, I would say, for in- 
stance, that the revolution of July 23rd is the realisation 
of a hope that the people of Egypt, in modern times, 
have aspired to since they began to think of governing 
themselves and since they decided to be the masters of 
their fate. 

One attempt failed to realise this hope when El 
Sayyed Omar Makram led the movement for appointing 
Mohamed Aly viceroy of Egypt in the name of its people. 

Another attempt failed to fulfil this aspiration when 
Orabi rose demanding a constitution. 

Other vain attempts followed during the intellectual 
fervour in the period between the revolt of Orabi and 
the Revolution of 1919. This latter was led by Saad 
Zaghloul, who again failed to reach his goal. 



s!- si- 



It is not true that the revolution of July 23rd started 
on account of the results of the war in Palestine. Neither 
was it caused by defective arms, to which officers and 
men fell victims. It is still further from the truth to 
attribute it to the crisis of the elections of the Officers' 
Club. In my opinion its causes are deeper and farther 
Had the Officers endeavoured to avenge themselves be- 



ll 



cause they were cheated in Palestine or because 
defective arms roused their indignation and because they 
suffered an indignity in the elections of the Officers' 
Club, the whole affair would not have deserved to be 
called a revolution. A mere mutiny would have been a 
suitable description for it even if it were attributed to 
causes fair and just in themselves. All these were inci- 
dental. Perhaps their greatest influence was that they 
urged us to march forward along the rpad to revolution; 
but without them we were marching just the same. 

Today I am trying to recall all the events that 
passed and, now that years have elapsed since we first 
thought of the revolution, to go back to the first day I 
discovered the seeds of revolt within me. That day lies 
farther in my life than November 1951, when the crisis 
of the Officers' Club elections began. The organisation 
of the Liberal Officers was then existing and active. I 
do not exaggerate when I say that the crisis of the 
Officers' Club elections was caused, more than anything 
else, by the activities of the Liberal Officers. We were 
determined to fight then in order to test the strength, 
of our mass formation and organisation. 

That day lies again further in my life than the 
beginning of the scandal of defective arms. The Liberal 
Officers' Organisation existed before that. Their cir- 
culars gave the first warning of the impending tragedy. 
Behind the uproar that rose on account of the defective 



12 



arms their activities lay. Nay, that day goes back still 
further in my life than May 16, 1944, which marked the 
start of my life in the Palestine War. As I trace the 
details of our experience in Palestine I feel a strange 
sensation. We were fighting in Palestine hut our dreams 
were in Egypt. Our bullets were aimed at the enemy 
lurking in the trenches in front of us, but our hearts 
were hovering round our distant Mother Country, which 
was then a prey to the wolves that ravaged it In Pales- 
tine Liberal Officers' cells were meeting in trenches and 
posts, studying and searching. And it was in Palestine 
that Salah Salem and Zakaria Mohy-el-Din came to me 
after penetrating the siege of Falouga; there we sat 
besieged neither knowing what was to become of that 
siege nor when it would end. We spoke of nothing but 
our country and how to deliver it. It was in Palestine 
that Kamal El Dine Hussein sat beside me one day and 
spoke as his eyes and his thoughts wandered; "Do you 
know what Ahmad Abdel Aziz told me before he died?" 
he asked. "What did he say?" I asked in return. In a 
deep tone of voice and with a still deeper look he said, 
"Listen Kamal, Egypt is the field of our supreme war 
effort." 

* 

** 

In Palestine I not only met friends that shared the 
work for Egypt, but there also I discovered the thoughts 
that shed their light on the road ahead. I remember the 



13 



days I spent in trenches pondering over our problems. 
Falouga was then besieged and the enemy had concen- 
trated his guns and aircraft heavily upon it. Often I 
said to myself, "Here we are in these underground holes 
besieged. We were cheated into a war unprepared and 
our destinies have been the plaything of passions, plots 
and greed. Here we lie under fire unarmed." 

As I reached that stage in my thinking my feelings 
would suddenly jump across the battlefront, across fron- 
tiers, to Egypt. I found myself saying, "There is our 
Mother Country, a far, far bigger Falouga. What is 
happening in Palestine is but a miniature picture of 
what is happening in Egypt. Our Mother Country has 
been likewise besieged by difficulties as well as ravaged 
by an enemy. She was cheated and pushed to fight 
unprepared. Greed, intrigue and passion have toyed 
with her and left her under fire unarmed." 



* 

£: :'-; 



Besides, it was not only the friends I met in Pales- 
tine who spoke to me of the future of our country, not 
only the experience that I had gathered there that ham- 
mered at my mind with warnings and forebodings; but 
the enemy also played his part in reminding us of our 
homeland and its difficulties. A few months ago I read 
some articles written about me by a Jewish officer nam- 
ed Yerdan Cohen. These were published in the Jewish 



14 



15 



Observer. In these articles he related how he met me 
during the contacts and discussions of the Armistice. 
"The subject that Gamal Abdel Nasser discussed with 
me," he stated, "was Israel's struggle against the Eng- 
lish, how we succeeded in mobilising world public opinion 
against them." 

The day I discovered the seeds of revolt within me 
was still further back than February 4, 1942. I wrote 
to a friend later saying, "What is to be done now that 
the catastrophe has befallen us, and we have accepted 
it, surrendered to it and taken it submissively and meek- 
ly." "I really believe," I continued, "that Imperialism 
is playing a one-card game in order to threaten only. 
If ever it knew that there were Egyptians ready to shed 
their blood and to meet force by force it would withdraw 
and recoil like a harlot. This, of course, is the state or 
habit of Imperialism everywhere." That even had a new 
influence on the spirit and feeling of the army and our- 
selves. Henceforth officers spoke not of corruption and 
pleasure, but of sacrifice and of their willingness to give 
up their lives to save their country's dignity. They all 
repented they did not intervene, however weak they may 
have obviously been, to redeem their country's honour 
and to wash this shame away with their very blood. But 
let us wait. Tomorrow will soon be here. 

Some tried to avenge this but the time for revenge 
had gone. Hearts were full of fire and sorrow. 









The fact is that this blow brought life back to some 
and made them realise that they should be prepared to 
defend their honour. That, in itself, was a severe lesson. 



* 



That day is again far more distant in my life than 
the feverish days I lived as a student, marching in de- 
monstrations, clamouring for the restoration of the 1923 
constitution, which was duly restored in 1935, the days 
when I used to join delegations of students calling on 
leaders in their homes and demanding from them to unite 
for the sake of Egypt. As a result of these efforts the 
National Front was formed in 1936. I remember that 
during the period of boiling over I wrote on September 
2, 1935, to a friend of mine, now Dr. Aly El Nashar, the 
following letter: 

Brother Aly, 

On August 30th I telephoned your father enquiring 
after you. He informed me you were at school. I there- 
fore decided to write what I had intended to convey to 
you by telephone. The Lord hath said, "Prepare for 
them (the enemy) whatever force you can," but where 
is the force we prepare ? The present situation is critical 
and Egypt is in a still more critical position. We are 
just about to bid life farewell and meet death. Despair 
is a solid structure; and who is to demolish it? 



16 



I wonder when it was that I discovered the seeds of 
revolt within me. I believe that such seeds were not 
embedded in my heart alone and that I found them in 
the hearts of others, who could not themselves trace 
them to their origin in themselves. It seems clear that 
these seeds were innate in us; they lay dormant and in- 
herited in our souls, a legacy from a previous generation. 

I have said all this to explain the first reason why I 
find it difficult to talk about the philosophy of the 
revolution and mentioned that such talk needs professors 
to delve into the depths of our history and trace the 
roots therein planted. The second reason is that I my- 
self was amidst the whirlwind of the revolution. Those 
who are at the depths of the whirlwind are hardly con- 
scious of whatever is away from it. 

It was thus that my faith and my mind were follow- 
ing everything that happened, and the way it happened, 
and therefore I cannot divert myself of my soul when 
I discuss these events and what hidden ideas lay at their 
Toots. 

I firmly believe that nothing can live in a vacuum. 
The truth that is latent in our depths is this: whatever 
we imagine to be the truth is, in fact, the truth plus the 
contents of our souls; our souls are but the vessels 
wherein lives everything in us, and the shape of this 



IT 



vessel gives form to whatever is introduced into it, evea 
facts. 

I try, as far as is humanly possible, to check myself 
from changing the form of the truth, and I am sure I 
shall succeed to a considerable extent. 

There is the question; and to do justice to myself 
and to the philosophy of the revolution I leave it to 
history to gather how it was within me, how it was 
within others and how it appeared in events; and from, 
all these the whole truth will emerge. 

* 

What is it then I would like to discuss if I eliminate 
the word "philosophy"? I have but two things to men- 
tion in this connection. First are some feelings which 
took the vague form of a hope at the beginning and 
became a definite idea and a practical plan prior to mid- 
night of July 23rd. Secondly are some experiences that 
changed this hope and plan into action at midnight of 
July 23rd and onwards until now. 

It is these feelings and experiences that I would like- 
to discuss. One question has persistently occurred to 
me: Was it our duty, as an army, to do what we did on 
July 28, 1952? I have just explained how the revolution 
of July 23rd was the realisation of a hope that dangled 
before the eyes of the people of Egypt since they began, 



18 



in modern times, to think of governing themselves and 
having the final word on their destiny. 

If this be so, and if what took place on July 23rd 
was only a military mutiny and not a popular revolt, 
why was the army then, apart from any other forces, 
destined to carry out this revolution? 

Throughout my life I have had faith in militarism. 
The soldier's sole duty is to die on the frontiers of his 
country. Why then was our army compelled to act in 
the capital and not on the frontier? 

Once more, let me reiterate that the defeat in Pales- 
tine, the defective arms, the crisis of the Officers' Club 
election were not the real springs from which the cur- 
rent flowed. They may have accelerated the flood but 
they could never be the original source. Why then did 
this duty fall upon the army? This question has often 
occurred to me. It came to me persistently during the 
stage of hoping, of thinking and of planning before July 
23rd. It repeated itself several times during the experi- 
mental period after July 23rd. We had different factors 
to justify action before July 23rd and to explain why it 
was imperative that the army should act. "If the army 
does not move," we said to ourselves, "who else will?" 
We were the ghost with which the tyrant haunted the 
dreams of the nation. It was high time that the same 
ghost turned against the tyrant and upset his dreams. 



19 



Other things we said; but what was most significant of 
all is the feeling deep down in our consciousness that 
this was our duty. If we did not perform it we would 
betray the sacred trust in our charge. I admit that the 
complete picture was not yet very vivid in my imagina- 
tion until I went through a long experience after July 
23rd. The very details of this experience were in them- 
selves the details of the picture. 



t] confess that after July 23rd I suffered fits in 
which. I accused myself, my colleagues and the rest of 
the army of committing rashness and folly on July 23rd, 

Prior to that date I imagined that the whole nation, 
was on tip-toes and prepared for action, that it awaited 
the advance of the vanguard and the storming of the 
outside walls for it to pour down in a solid phalanx 
marching faithfully to the great goal. I thought we 
were only the pioneers and the commandoes, that we 
would only be in the front for a few hours, and that we 
would be soon followed by the solid masses marching to 
the goal. My imagination often carried me away. I 
felt I could hear the tramping of their solid, orderly 
rows as they marched onwards to the main front. My 
faith was such as to render everything I heard a con- 
crete fact and not a mere vision. 



20 



After July 23rd I was shocked by the reality. The 
vanguard performed its task; it stormed the walls of 
the fort of tyranny; it forced Farouk to abdicate and 
stood by expecting the mass formations to arrive at their 
ultimate object. It waited and waited. Endless crowds 
showed up, but how different was the reality from the 
vision! The multitudes that arrived were dispersed fol- 
lowers and disparate remnants. The holy march towards 
the great goal was interrupted. A dismal picture, hor- 
rible and threatening, then presented itself. I felt my 
heart changed with sorrow and dripping with bitterness. 
The mission of the vanguard had not ended. In fact it 
was just beginning at that very hour. We needed dis- 
cipline but found chaos behind our lines. We needed 
unity but found dissention. We needed action but found 
nothing but surrender and idleness. It was from this 
source and no other that the revolution derived its 

Blotto. 



We did not expect this shock. We went to the men 
of ideas for counsel and to the men of experience for 
guidance, but unfortunately we did not find much of 
either. Every leader we came to wanted to assassinate 
his rival. Every idea we found aimed at the destruction 
of another. If we were to carry out all that we heard, 
then there would not be one leader left alive. Not one 



21 



Idea would remain intact. We would cease to have a 
mission save to remain among the smashed bodies and 
the broken debris lamenting our misfortune and re- 
proaching our ill-fate. 

Complaints and petitions poured upon us in thous- 
ands. If these had referred to cases worthy of justice, 
or had mentioned oppression that might be redressed, 
they would have been understandable and logical. The 
majority of these were but persistent demands for re- 
venge, as if the revolution were meant to be a weapon 
for revenge and hatred. 

5;* 
* * 

Had I been asked then what I required most my 
instant answer would have been, "To hear but one Egyp- 
tian uttering one word of justice about another, to see 
but one Egyptian not devoting his time to criticising 
wilfully the ideas of another, to feel that there was but 
one Egyptian ready to open his heart to forgiveness, 
indulgence and love for his brother Egyptians. Personal 
and persistent selfishness was the rule of the day. The 
word "I" was on every tongue. It was the magic solu- 
tion of every difficulty and the effective cure for every 
malady. I often met men, referred to in the press as 
"'great men", of various tendencies and colours, from 
whom I sought the solution of a difficult problem. I 
could hear nothing from them save the word "I". He 



22 



and only he was capable of understanding the problems 
of economics; the rest were but children creeping on all 
fours. He and only he was the expert statesman and 
the rest only learning their a and b and had not got to c. 
After interviewing any of these men I would go back to 
my colleagues bittery exclaiming, "How utterly futile...! 
If we were to ask that man about a difficulty in fishing 
off the Islands of Hawaii his answer would only be "I", 

* 

I remember I once visited one of our universities and 
sat with professors, endeavouring to profit by the ex- 
perience of men of learning. Many spoke and spoke at 
length. Unfortunately not one of them presented a new 
idea. Every one introduced himself and listed his moral 
capacities which, in his -view, could perform miracles.. 
Everyone eyed me as if I were to him more precious; 
than the treasures of earth or the blessings of eternity, 
I could not help but remark to them all "Everyone in 
his place can perform miracles. The primary duty is 
to put all one's energy into it and if you, as university 
professors, ever thought of students and rendered them, 
as you should, your principal care, you would provide 
us with a tremendous force wherewith to build up our 
country. Let every one remain at his post and strive 
hard at it. Do not look up to us. Circumstances have 
compelled us to leave our posts to perform a sacred task. 



We sincerely wish the country had no further use for us 
save as professional soldiers in the army. There we 
would have remained. I did not wish then to set before 
them the example of the members of the Revolution 
Council who, before the crisis summoned them for the 
supreme task, were performing their duties in the army 
most diligently. I did not wish to tell them that most, 
of the members of the Revolution Council were profes- 
sors in the Staff College... a clear proof of their distinc- 
tion as professional soldiers. Neither did I wish to 
mention to them that three members of the Revolution 
Council had received promotion on the field in Palestine, 
lest I should be regarded as boasting of my brethren and 
colleagues of the Revolution Council. 

** 

I admit the situation caused me a depressing psycho- 
logical crisis. But later, experience and reflection, and 
the true significance I derived from them, lightened the 
reaction of the crisis upon me and made me seek pretexts 
from the world of reality, that came to me when the 
complete picture of the state of my country became clear 
to me. It, moreover, provided me with the answer to 
the question which was always in my mind. That ques- 
tion is: "Was it our duty, the Army's duty, to act as it 
did on July 23rd?" The unavoidable and inescapable 
answer is "Yes". 



•!; 



24 



I can now say that we are at present in the. throes 
of two revolutions and not one. 

Every nation on earth undergoes two revolutions: 
One political, in which it recovers its right of self govern- 
ment from an imposed despot or an army of aggression 
occupying its territory without its consent. The second 
revolution is social, in which the classes of society 
struggle against each other until justice for all citizens 
has been gained and conditions have become stable. 

Other nations have preceded us along the path of 
human progress and passed through the two revolutions, 
but not simultaneously. Hundreds of years separated! 
the one from the other. In the case of our nation, it is 
going through the two revolutions together and at the 
same time, a great experiment putting us to the test. 
This test lies in the fact that the conditions of each revo- 
lution are remarkably different, strangelt discordent and 
terrifically clashing. Political revolution demands, for 
its success, the unity of all national elements, their fusion 
and mutual support, as well as self-denial for the sake 
of the country as a whole. 

* 
** 

One of the first signs of social revolution is that 
values are shaken and creeds are relaxed; fellow-coun- 



25 



trymen struggle against each other, as indUv.duals and 
« classes. Corruption, suspicion, hatred and selfishness 
dominate them. Between the anvil and the hammer we 
now live in two revolutions: one demanding that we 
should unite together, love one another and strain every 
B erve to reach our goal; the other forcing us,, in spite of 
ourselves, to disperse and give way to hatred, everyone 
thinking only of himself. 

Between the anvil and the hammer the 1919 Revolu- 
tion failed to achieve the results which it ought to have 
realised The ranks that massed in 1919 to face tyranny 
were after a while, occupied only in internal strife. 
Tyranny became more arbitrary, whether it was in the 
form of the open forces of occupation or their veiled 
cat's paws, headed by Sultan Fouad and later by his son 
Tarouk The nation reaped nothing but a crop of self- 
suspicion, egoism and hatred, between individuals and 
classes alike. The hopes which the 1919 Revolution was 
expected to realise faded. The fact that they faded only 
and did not die out is due to the natural resistance of 
those hopes which our nation had always entertained. 
This resistance was still alive then and preparing for 
another trial. Such was the state of affairs that pre- 
vailed after the 1919 Revolution and which compelled 
the army to be the only force capable of action. 

The situation demanded that a homogeneous force 
should emerge, away, to a certain extent from the 



26 

struggle of individuals and classes. This force should 
issue from the heart of the people. Its members should 
have faith in each other and should have in their hand& 
such elements of material force as to ensure swift and 
decisive action. Such conditions did not prevail except 
in the army. 

It was not the army, as I mentioned, that determined 
its role in the events. The opposite is nearer the truth. 
It was the events and their evolution that determined 
for the army its role in the mighty struggle for the libe- 
ration of the country. 

** 

I realised from the very beginning that our success 
depended on our complete understanding of the nature 
of the conditions we live in as related to our national 
history. We were not in a position to change these con- 
ditions by a mere stroke of the pen. And we were not 
in a position to put back or put forward the hands of 
the clock and dominate time. We could not act, along 
the route of history, as the traffic constable does on the 
road; we could not stop the passage of one revolution to 
let through another, and therefore avoid a collision. The 
only thing to do was to act as best we could, and escape 
being crushed between the two mill-stones. 

It was imperative that we should proceed with the 
two revolutions together. The day we marched along 



27 

the path of political revolution and dethroned Farouk we 
2*TsJ*r step along the path of social revo u^on 
t Siting the ownership of agricultural tad I ^ 

*-i +™w that the revolution of July ^ru 
believe until today tnat uus ., 

snoul d retain its capacity for swift action an — e 
in order that it may fulfill the miracle of *ȣ** 
with the two revolutions simultaneously, contradictory 
a s our action may appear to be sometimes. 

When a friend of mine came to me one day exclaim- 
in, .-You asked for unity to face the English and at the 
L^e time you permit the Graft Court to proceed^ 
its work," I listened to him with the image of our big 
ZZ in my mind: the crisis of being between the two 
m m-stones One revolntion demanded that we shoutt 
stand in one row and forget the past, another revolution 
forced us to restore the lost dignity of moral values and 
not forget the past. 

I did not say to my friend that the only way to safety 
was, as I mentioned, the capacity for swift action and 
initiative as well as the capacity for marching along the 

two paths together. 

This was not my will; nor was it the will of those 

who took part in the revolution of July 23rd. It was 

the will of fate, of the history of our nation and the 

stage it is passing through today. 



■^^^■■^■H 




PART II. 

Positive action — Enthusiasm is not enough — 
Bullets speak — Crying and wailing in the night — 
How easy to shed blood — Roots in history — God 
Almighty ! God Almighty ! — Steel collapses — This 
society will crystallise — People's nerves and minds 
— We have angered everybody — These are our 
limitations and that is our duty. 




What is it we want to do? And which is the way 

to it? 

The truth is that I often knew the answer to the 
first question. Such knowledge was not confined to me; 
it was the hope held by our whole generation. 

As for the answer to the second question — the way 
to that which we want - I confess it has undergone in 
my mind more changes than anything else. I almost 
believe that it is the biggest bone of contention in this 
generation. 

There is no doubt we all dream of Egypt free and 
strong. No Egyptian would ever differ with another 

about that. 

As for the way to liberation and strength, that is the 
most intricate problem in our lives. I faced this com- 
plex problem prior to July 23, 1952. I continued to face 
it after that, until its many angles, which had lain hidden 
under the shadows that fell upon them, became clear to 
me I began to behold horizons which were shrouded 
out of my sight by the pall of darkness that had lain on 
our country for centuries. 

I have felt, since consciousness first dawned within 
me, that positive action is the only way. But what 
action? The expression "positive action" may appear 
on paper sufficient to solve the problem. But, in life, in 



32 

the difficult circumstances our generation has been go- 
ing through and in this crisis that ravaged deeply ito 
the destinies of our country, it was not sufficient kt 
one stage of my life I considered enthusiasm posiive 
action. Then my ideal in positive action changed uitil 
I came to realise that it was not enough that my nerres 
alone should cry out, and that I must communicate ny 
enthusiasm to others until their nerves also cried <at. 

In those days I was at the head of demonstrations 
in Al Nahda School. From the bottom of my heait I 
clamoured for complete independence; others repeated 
my cries; but these were in vain. 

They were blown away by the winds and became 

faint echoes that did not move mountains or smish 

rocks. Later "positive action" meant in my opinion toat 

all leaders of Egypt should unite on one thing. Our 

rebellious cheering crowds passed their homes one by 

one demanding, in the name of the youth of Egypt, tat 

they should unite on one thing. It was a tragedy to 

my faith that the one thing they united on was the 

Treaty of 1936. 

* 

Then came the Second World War and the events 
that preceded it. Both inflamed our youth and spisad 
fire to our innermost feelings. We, the whole genira- 
tion, began to move towards violence. I confess, tnd 
I hope the Attorney-General will not incriminate me on 



33 

account of this confession, that political assassinations 
blazed in my enflamed mind during that period as the 
only positive action from which we could not escape, if 
we were to save the future of our country. 

I thought of assassinating many whom I regarded as 
obstacles between our country and its future. I began 
to expose their crimes and set myself as a judge of their 
actions and of the harm that these brought upon the 
country; and then I would follow all this by the sentence 
that should be passed upon them. 

I thought of assassinating the ex-King and those of 
his men who tampered with our sacred traditions. In 
this I was not alone. When I sat with others our 
thoughts passed from thinking to planning. Many a 
design did I draw up those days. Many a night did I lie 
awake preparing the means for the expected positive 
action. Our life was, during this period, like an exciting 
detective story. We had great secrets; we had symbols; 
we hid in the darkness and arranged our pistols and 
bombs side by side. Those were the hope we dreamt of 
We made many attempts in this direction and I still re- 
member, until to-day, our feelings and emotions as we 
dashed along the road to its end. 

The truth, however, is that I did not feel at ease in 
considering violence as the positive action essential for 
the salvation of our country's future. I had within me 



34 

a feeling of distraction which was a mixture of complex 
and intermingled factors: of patriotism, religion, com- 
passion, cruelty, faith, suspicion, knowledge and ignor- 
ance. 

Slowly and gently the idea of political assassination, 
which was blazing in my imagination, began to die out 
and lose its value to me as the realization of the expected 
positive action. 

I remember one night in particular which was deci- 
sive in directing my thoughts and my dreams along that 
channel. We had prepared everything necessary for 
action. We selected one whom we found essential to 
put out of the way. We studied the circumstances of 
the life of this individual, and made the plot in detail. 
This plot was to shoot him as he returned home at night. 
We organised an assault squad which would shoot him, 
another squad to guard this one and a third to organise 
the plan of getting away to safety after the plot had 
been fully carried out. 

The appointed night came and I went out myself 
with the squad of execution. Everything went accord- 
ing to our plan. 

The place was empty, as we had expected. The 
equads lay in the hiding places fixed for them. The 
person whom we wanted to get out of the way came and 
bullets were fired at him. The squad of execution with- 



i f i 



u 



.' 



35 



drew, covered in its retreat by the guards, and the ope- 
ration of getting away began. I started my motor car 
and dashed away from the scene of the positive action 
we planned. Cries, wailings and moans suddenly rang 
in my ears. The wailing of a woman, the voice of a 
scared child and continuous feverish appeals for help 
sasailed my ears. I was steeped in my rebellious set of 
emotions as my car rushed me along. I then became 
conscious of something strange; the sounds I heard were 
still tearing my ears, as well as the cries, wails and 
moans and the feverish appeals of help. I was then 
away from the scene, further than sound could reach. 
Nevertheless I felt all these beginning to haunt and 
chase me. 

I got home, threw myself on bed, my mind in a fever, 
my heart and conscience incessantly boiling. The cries, 
moans and wails and the appeals for help still ranging in 
my ears. All night long I could not sleep. I lay on my 
bed in the darkness, lighting one cigarette after another, 
wandering away with my rebellious thoughts, which were 
driven away by the sounds that haunted me. "Was I 
right?" I asked my self. With conviction I answered 
"My motives were patriotic." "Was this an unavoidable 
means?" I again asked myself. In doubt I replied: 
"What could we have done otherwise? Is it possible 
that the future of our country could change by getting 
rid of this one individual or another? Is not the ques- 



36 



tion far deeper than this?" In bewilderment I would 
say to myself: I almost feel that the question is deeper. 
We dream of the glory of a nation. Which is more im- 
portant? That some one should pass away who should 
pass away or that someone should come who should 
come. 

As I mention this I see rays of light gradually filter- 
ing through these crowded sensations. "What is impor- 
tant," I would say to myself, "is that someone should 
come who should come. We are dreaming of the glory 
of a nation: a glory that must be built up". As I tossed 
on my bed in a room full of smoke and charged with 
emotions, I found myself asking: "And then?" "And 
what then?" a mysterious voice called out. With deep 
conviction this time I again said to myself, "Our method 
must change. This is not the positive action we should 
aim at. The roots of the question go deeper. The 
problem is more serious and more far-reaching." At 
this I felt an undiluted relief which was soon dispersed 
by the cries, moans, wails and appeals whose echoes re- 
sounded inside me. Suddenly I found myself exclaim- 
ing, "I hope he will not die." It was indeed strange that 
dawn would find me wishing life for someone I wished 
dead the night before. I rushed anxiously to the morn- 
ing papers. I was happy to find that the individual 
whose assassination I plotted was destined to live. 

But this was not the fundamental problem. The 



37 



principal question was to find out the positive action. 
We began to think of something more deeply rooted, 
more serious and more far-reaching. We began to draw 
the preliminary lines of the vision that was realised in 
the night of July 23rd, namely a revolution springing 
from the very heart of the people, charged with its aspi- 
rations and completing the steps it had previously taken 
along its destined path. 

I began this discourse with two questions: One was 
this: "What is it we want to do?" and the second, 
"Which is the way to what we want to do?" The answer 
of the first question, as I mentioned, was a hope unanim- 
ously held. The answer of the second question, about 
the way to do what we wanted, I discussed at length 
until July 33rd. 

#.* 

But was what happened on July 23th all that we 
wanted to do? The answer is emphatically "No"; that 
was only the first step along the road. 

The ecstasy of success on July 23rd did not really 
deceive me. It did not seem to me that our hopes had 
been realised or that spring had come. The opposite 
might be the truth. Every moment carried to me a fresh 
success of the revolution, but it also laid unwittingly a 
heavy burden upon my shoulders. I mentioned in Part I 



38 

of this discourse that before July 23rd I thought the 
whole nation was standing on tip-toes and ready tor 
action and that it was awaiting but the storming of the 
walls by the vanguard to rush forward in orderly mass 
formations. I stated that our role as a vanguard could 
take only a few minutes to perform, after which we 
would be followed by the massed regular forces. I also 
described in that part of the picture the disputes, chaos, 
hatred and passions which were let loose, each trying 
by its egoism to exploit the revolution for its purposes 
I said, and I shall go on saying, that this was the most 
cruel shock I ever felt in my life. But I admit I should 
have expected all that happened since it was impossible 
to fulfil our dreams by merely pressing an electric but- 
ton, and since it was impossible that the scrum and 
debris of centuries could disappear in the twinkling of 
an eye. 

* 

It was easy then, and I still find it easy now, to shed 
the blood of ten, twenty, or thirty persons in order to 
strike fear and panic in the hearts of many hesitants, 
and thus force them to swallow their passions, their 
hatred, and their whims. But what result could such an 
action achieve? I used to think that the only way to 
face a problem was to trace it to its origin and to try 
follow the source from which it began. It was not just 
to impose a "reign of blood" upon us, regardless of the 
historical circumstances which our nation has been 
through and which left its imprint upon us and made us 
what we are to-day. I said once that I did not pretend 



39 



to he a professor of history, for tins f ^*f ^ 
my imagination would aspire to. I said that I would 
mL my attempts only as a ehild beginmng his lustory 
course at school. 

*' 
Fate has so willed that we should be on the cross- 
roads of the world. Often we have been the road wh*h 
invaders took and a prey to adventurers In certain 
dJcumstances we find it impossible to explam the factors 
Ttent in the soul of our nation without due consideration 
of these circumstances. 

In my opinion we cannot overlook the history of 
Egypt under the Pharaohs or the reaction between the 
Greek spirit and ours, the Roman invasion, and toto 
conquest and the waves of Arab migrations that fol- 
lowed. 

I believe we should pause for a time and examine the 
circumstances we went through in the Middle Ages; for 
it is these that brought us to the stage we are in to-day. 
If the Crusades were the dawn of a renaissance in 
Europe they were also the commencement of the Dark 
Ages in our country. Our nation bore the brunt of the 
Crusades They left it exhausted, poverty-stricken and 
destitute At the same time that it was menaced by the 
war it suffered tyranny and lay prostrate under the 
spikes of the horses of the despots of Inner Asia. These 
were slaves when they first came. Then they turned 
against their masters and replaced them as princes. 
They were brought to Egypt in droves as Mameluke 



40 



slaves and after spending a time in this good and peace- 
ful country they became kings. Tyranny, oppression 
and destruction became the characteristic feature of 
their rule, which enveloped Egypt in its blackness for 
centuries. During that period our country became a 
forest ruled by wild beasts. The Mamelukes looked upon 
it as an easy prey. Their struggles turned on the parti- 
tioning of the booty. Our souls, our wealth and our 
land were the spoil. 

Often, when I go back to turning the pages of our 
history, I feel sorrow tearing my soul as I consider the 
period when a tyrannical feudalism was formed, a feud- 
alism which had no other object save to such the blood 
of life out of our veins and to sap from them the 
remnants of any feeling of power and of dignity. It 
left in the depth of our souls an effect that we have to 
struggle long to overcome. 

In point of fact, when I visualise this effect I feel I 
can understand, on most occasions, some of the symp- 
toms of our political life. 

It often appears to me that many adopt towards the 
revolution an attitude of spectators who have no other 
interest than waiting to see the result of the battle in 
which two sides, with whom they have not the least 
connection, are struggling. I often rebel against this 
attitude and say to myself and to some of my friends: 
"Why don't they come forward? Why don't they emerge 
from their hiding places, to speak and move." 



41 



I do not find an explanation for this save the deposits 
of the Mameluke reign, when princes used to wrestle 
against each other, and when horsemen fought in the 
streets, while people rushed to their homes and locked 
themselves in, in order to be away from the fight which 
did not concern them. 

It often appears to me that we resort to our imagi- 
nation and demand that it should fulfil our desires in 
the sphere of fancy; we enjoy this fancy and thus rest 
too inactive to try to realise it. 

Many of us have not yet rid themselves of this feel- 
ing; they have not assimilated the idea that this country 
is theirs and that they are its masters and the leaders 
of opinion and the proper authorities in it. 

I once tried to understand an expression I used often 
to shout as a child when I saw planes flying in the sky. 
I used to say: "Oh, God Almighty! May a calamity 
betake the English!" 

I found out later that we inherited the expression 
from our forefathers in the days of the Mamelukes. It 
was not then applied to the English, but it was modified 
by us or by the unchanged and latent deposits in us. 
We only changed the name of the oppressor. Our fore- 
fathers used to say, "O God Almighty! Send the Osmanly 
to perdition!" 

* 
* * 

In the same unchanged spirit the idea was often ex- 
pressed by our tongues. The name English replaced the 
name Osmanly, in accordance with the political changes 
that followed upon Egypt between the two epochs. 



42 



Then what happened after the Mameluke period? 
The French expedition came. The iron curtain that the 
Tartars imposed upon us was torn away. New ideas 
poured upon us. New horizons, hitherto unknown to us r 
opened. 

The Dynasty of Mohamed Aly inherited all the con- 
ditions of Mameluke life, even though it endeavoured to 
dress them in the fashionable clothes of the nineteenth 
century. Our contacts with Europe and the world were 
resumed anew. Consciousness, in a modern sense, dawn- 
ed upon us and brought with it a new crisis. 

We were, in my opinion, like a patient who had spent 
too long a time in a closed chamber. The heat inside the 
closed chamber became such that the patient was almost 
suffocated. Suddenly a storm raged and wrecked the 
windows and doors. Cold draughts rushed in lashing the 
body of the patient, still soaked in perspiration. The 
patient was in need of a breath of air. Instead a violent 
cyclone burst upon him and fever ravaged his exhausted 
body. 

This is exactly what happened to our society. It was 
a really dangerous experiment. European society had 
passed through the stages of its evolution in an orderly 
manner. It crossed the bridge between the Renaissance 
at the end of the Middle Ages and the Nineteenth Cen- 
tury step by step. The stages of this evolution systema- 
tically succeeded one another. In our case everything 
was sudden. We lived behind an iron curtain which 
suddenly collapsed. We were cut off from the world; 
we renounced its life, especially after trade with the East 
was derouted to the Cape of Good Hope. European 



43 



countries eyed us covetously and regarded us as a short 
cut to their colonies in the East and the South. 

Torrents of ideas and opinions burst upon us, which 
we, at that stage of our evolution, were incapable of 
assimilating. Our spirits were still in the Thirteenth 
Century though the symptoms of the Nineteenth and 
Twentieth Centuries infiltrated in their various aspects. 
Our minds were trying to catch up with the advancing 
caravan of humanity from which we had fallen back five 
centuries or more. The course was exhausting and the 
race was terrible. 

# 

* * 

There is no doubt that this state of affairs was res- 
ponsible for the absence of a united public opinion in our 
country. The gulf between one individual and another, 
and one generation and another, became particularly 
wide. 

At one time I complained that people did not know 
what they wanted. They were not unanimous in their 
choice of the way to take. I realised later that I de- 
manded the impossible and that I took no account of the 
circumstances of our society. 

We live in a society that has not yet crystallised. It 
is still boiling over and restless. It has not yet grown 
calm or settled down, so as to continue its gradual evolu- 
tion parallel with other nations which preceded it along 
the road. 

I believe, without paying any compliment to people's 
emotions, that our nation has realised a miracle. Any 
nation, exposed to the same conditions as our country, 



44 

could easily have men lost. It could have been swept 
away by the torrents that fell upon it. But it stood firm 
in the violent earthquake. 

It is true we nearly lost our equilibrium in some cir- 
cumstances; but generally we did not fall to the ground. 
As I consider one normal Egyptian family out of the 
thousands that live in the capital, I find the following: 
the father, for example, is a turbaned 'fellah' from the 
heart of the country; the mother a lady descended from 
Turkish stock; the sons of the family are at a school 
vrhich has adopted the English system; the daughters, 
the French. All this lies between the Thirteenth century 
and the outward appearances of the Twentieth. 

As I see this I feel I can comprehend the bewilder- 
ment and the confusion that assail us. Then I say to 
myself "This society will crystallise; its component parts 
will hold together; it will form a homogeneous entity; 
but this necessitates that we should strain our nerves 
during the period of transition." 

Such, then, are the roots from which sprang out con- 
ditions of today. Such are the sources from which our 
crisis derives. If I add to these social origins the cir- 
cumstances for which we expelled Farouk and for which 
we wish to liberate our country from every foreign sol- 
dier; if we add all these together, we shall discover the 
wide sphere in which we labour and which is exposed, 
from every side, to the winds, to the violent storm that 
rages, to flashing lightning and roaring thunder. As I 
stated, it is not fair that a "reign of blood" should be 
imposed upon us in this sphere, if we take all these 
circumstances and conditions into consideration. 






45 



Therefore, one may ask, "Which is the way? And 
what is our role in it?" The way is that which leads 
to economic and political freedom. 

Our role is the role of the watchmen only, no more 
and no less, watchmen for a definite period with a time 
limit. 

How similar is our nation today to a caravan that 
had to take a certain route! The route was long; thieves 
and highwaymen attacked the caravan; it was led astray 
by a mirage; and finally it dispersed, each group wand- 
ering to a different place and every individual taking a 
different direction. 

How similar is our mission in these circumstances to 
the part of someone going out of his way to gather these 
wandering lost wayfarers in order to put them again on 
the right track and leave them to proceed with their 
march ! 

This is our part, and I cannot imagine any other. If 
it occurred to me to solve all the problems of our coun- 
try, I should be a dreamer; and I am not fond of clinging 
to dreams. 

We have neither the capacity to do this nor the ex- 
perience to achieve it. Our job is, as I said, to define 
the land-marks of the road, to lead the wanderers back 
to where they should resume their march, and to catch 
up with those who are pursuing the mirage and convince 
them of the futility of what they are doing. 

I fully knew from the beginning that our mission 
would not be an easy one and that it would cost us much 
of our popularity. We have to speak frankly and speak 



46 

straight to the minds of the people. Our I^deoW 
used to offer people nothing hut dreams, and utter no- 
thing but what people liked to hear. 

How easy it I to speak to people's instincts and how 
difficult to address their minds! Our *fP&*?£ 
same, but our minds are subject to diversity and .top* 
it7 Egyptian politicians, in the past, were mtelhgent 
enough to reahse his fact. They aimed then : words at 
Z instincts of the people, leaving their --^wande. 
in* in the desert. We could do the same. We could 
charge people's nerves with big words, which are drawn 
from the world of imagination and which make them 
perform chaotic actions, for which they did -t Prewar 
or make any plan. We could leave them to cry the r 
"ices hoarse by cheering: "O God Almighty! Wou d 
that a calamity betake the English!", as ™ *»*^ 
did under the Mamelukes when they cned, O Lord Al- 
mighty! Send the Osmanly to perdition!" 

^Nothing followed their cries. Was this then the mis- 
sion for which we were destined? What could we have 
achieved if we had really gone along that road 

I mentioned in Part I of this discourse that the 
success of the revolution depends on its comprehension 
of the real conditions facing it and its capacity for 
prompt action. To this I now add that it should be free 
from the effects of glittering words. It should proceed 
with what it deems its duty, regardless of the price it 
may pay out of its popularity or of the cheers and the 
applause it may receive. Otherwise we shall betray the 
trust we hold for the revolution and its duties. 



47 



Many people come to me and exclaim, "You have 
angered everybody." To which explanation I always 
reply, "It is not people's anger that influences the situa- 
tion. The question should be: "Was what aroused their 
anger for the good of the country? Or for whose interest 
was it?" I realise we have upset big landowners; but 
was it possible not to upset them and still see some of 
us owning thousands of acres, while others do not own 
the plot of land wherein they are buried after their 
death? 

I realise we have aroused the wrath of the old poli- 
ticians; but was it possible not to do so and still see our 
country a victim to their passions, their corruption and 
their struggle for the spoils of office? 

I realise we have angered many government officials ; 
but was it possible to spend more than half the budget 
on officials' salaries and yet allot, as we have done, forty 
million pounds for productive projects ? What would have 
happened if we had opened the coffers of the treasury 
of the state, as the old politicians did, and distributed 
their contents among officials and let come what may 
thereafter. The year that followed would have found 
the Government unable to pay the salaries of officials. 

How easy it would have been to satisfy all those mal- 
contents! But what is the price that our country would 
pay out of its hopes and its future for that satisfaction? 



** 



Such is the role that history has fixed for us. We 
cannot escape from it however high a price we pay. We 



48 

never misunderstood this role, or the nature of the duties 
it imposed upon us. These are steps to redress the 
wrongs of the past and clear away the deposits We 
have gone ahead with them and have suffered hardships 
for their sake. 

As for the future, is is not for us only to speak In 
order to safeguard political life we went to several leaders 
of public opinion of various classes and creeds. We said 
to them "Draw up a constitution which will safeguard 
the country's sacred heritage." Hence the Commission 
of the Constitution. 

In order to guarantee economic life in future we 
sought the most eminent professors in the country and 
said to them, "Plan prosperity for the country and ensure 
for every citizen his daily crust of bread." Hence the 
Council of National Production. 

These are our limits, which we have not transgress- 
ed To remove the rocks and the obstacles that block 
the way is our duty at whatever price. The way is open 
to whoever has ideas and experience to contribute to the 
future in all its aspects. It is a duty imperative upon 
us all. We must not be selfish and monopolise it. Our 
mission necessitates that we should bring all together for 
the sake of Egypt, Egypt the strong, Egypt the free. 



PART m. 



After an absence of three months — Time and 
place Fate plays no jokes — Three circles — A role 
in search of a hero — Palestine is not a foreign land 
— Face to face with poverty in Palestine — The most 
valued news of aviation — Ideas in the battlefield — 
— The earth and the stars — A glance at 
Weizmanrts memoirs — The single struggle and its 
elements — Force expressed in figures — Our 
responsibilities in life — Wisdom — The reality in 

jrimage. 




For the third time I return to the philosophy of the 
revolution. I revert to it after three months or more full 
of rapid events and successive developments. Three 
months have passed during which, more than once, I tried 
to find time to record these impressions on the Philoso- 
phy of the Revolution. My efforts have gone with the 
winds of successive developments, which blew them away 
and dispersed them in space. 

But the wind that blew away my efforts to register 
my impressions hardly affected the impressions them- 
selves. It is true these impressions were not recorded 
on paper but they continued to turn round and round in 
my mind and react with other impressions already there, 
seeking other details, whether in my memory or in the 
events of the day, to add to themselves and thus make 
the picture correct and clear. 

But what is that correct and clear picture I would 
like to draw this time? And what relation has it to the 
attempts I had made to depict, in the first part of this 
discourse and then in the second part, these impressions 
on the Philosophy of the Revolution? 

In Part I, I discussed how the revolution first started 
within us as individuals, in ourselves as normal types of 
the youth of our generation. I spoke of the revolution 
and its place in the history of our people, and of July 
23rd as a day in that revolution. In Part II, I dealt with 
the attempts we made as we proceeded along the road 



52 

to revolution and how our national history determined 
that road, whether in our consideration of the past, a 
consideration full of morals, or in our aspiration of the 
future, an aspiration charged with hope. 

I spoke then of "time" but "place" also claims its 
right. Let me therefore speak of "place" on this occa- 
sion. 

I do not aim at a complicated philosophical discussion 
of "time and place," but there is no doubt that the world 
and not our country only, is the result of the reaction of 
time and place. In depicting the circumstances of our 
country, I said we could not forget the element of time . 
We cannot forget the element of "place" either. 

In simple language, we cannot go back to the Tenth 
Century and wear its robes, which strike us as curious 
and ridiculous now-a-days. Neither can we lose our way 
in the ideas which appear in front of us utterly black 
without a single ray of light filtering through them. In 
the same way we cannot act as if our country were a 
part of Alaska in the Far North or as if we were on 
Wake Island, which lies distant and deserted in the vast- 
ness of the Pacific. If time imposes upon us its evolu- 
tion, place also imposes upon us its reality. Having 
discussed time on the two previous occasions I shall now 
discuss place. 

We should first of all agree upon one thing before 
we proceed further with this discourse, and that is to 



53 



define the boundaries of place as far as we are concerned. 
If I am told that our place is the capital we live in I beg- 
to differ. If I am told that our place is limited by the 
political boundaries of our country I also do not agree. 
If our problem, as a whole, were confined within our 
capital or inside our political boundaries, it would be 
easy. We would lock ourselves in, close all the doors 
and live in an ivory tower away as much as possible 
from the world, its complications, its wars and crises. 
All these crash through the gates of our country and 
leave their effects upon us though we have nothing to 
do with them. 

The era of isolation is now gone. Gone also are the 
days when barbed wire marked the frontiers separating 
and isolating countries. Every country must now look 
beyond its frontiers to find out where the currents that 
affect it spring, how it should live with others... etc. It 
has become imperative that every country should look 
around to find out its position and its environment and 
decide what it can do, what its vital sphere is, where is 
the scene of its activity and what its positive role can be 
in this troubled world. 



As I sit in my study and think quickly of this subject 
I often ask myself, "What is our practice role in this 
troubled world and where is the scene in which we can 
play that role?" 

I survey our conditions and find that we are in a 
group of circles which should be the theatre of our activ- 
ity and in which we try to move as much as we can. 



54 

Fate does not play jokes. Events are not produced 
haphazardly. Existence cannot come out of nothing. 

We cannot look stupidly at a map of the world not 
realising our place therein and the role determining to 
us by that place. Neither can we ignore that there is 
an Arab circle surrounding us and that this circle is as 
much a part of us as we are a part of it, that our history 
has been mixed with it and that its interests are linked 
with ours. These are actual facts and not mere words. 
Can we ignore that there is a continent of Africa in 
Which fate has placed us and which is destined today 
to witness a terrible struggle on its future? This strug- 
gle will affect us whether we want it or not. 

Can we ignore that there is a Moslem world with 
which we are tied by bonds which are not only forged by 
religious faith also tightened by the facts of history? 
I said once that fate plays no jokes. It is not in vain 
that our country lies to the south-west of Asia close to 
the Arab world, whose life is intermingled with ours. It 
is not in vain that our country lies in the north-east of 
Africa, a position from which it gives upon the dark 
continent, where in rages today the most violent struggle 
between white colonisers and black natives for the pos- 
session of its inehaustible resources. It is not in vain 
that Islamic civilization and the Islamic heritage, which 
the Mongols ravaged in their conquest of the old Islamic 
Capitals, retreated and sought refuge in Egypt, where 
they found shelter and safety as a result of the counter- 
attack at Ein Galout with which Egypt repelled the in- 
vasion of these Tartars. 






55 



All these are fundamental facts, whose roots lie deep 
in our life; whatever we do, we cannot forget them or 
run away from them. 

I see no reason, as I sit alone in my study with my 
thoughs wandering away, why I should recall, at this 
stage of my thinking, a well-known story by the Italian 
poet Luigi Pirandello which he called, "Six Personalities 
in Search of Actors." 

The annals of history are full of heroes who carved 
for themselves great and heroic roles and played them 
on momentous occasions on the stage. History is also 
charged with great heroic roles for which we do not find 
actors. I do not know why I always imagine that in 
this region in which we live there is a role wandering 
aimlessly about seeking an actor to play it. I do not 
know why this role, tired of roaming about in this vast 
region which extends to every place around us, should 
at last settle down, weary and worn out, on our frontiers 
beckoning us to move, to dress up for it and to perform 
it since there is nobody else who can do so. 

Here I hasten to point out that this role is not a 
leading role. It is one of interplay of reactions and expe- 
riments with all these factors aiming at exploding this 
terrific energy latent in every sphere around us and at 
the creation, in this region, of a tremendous power cap- 
able of lifting this region up and making it play its posi- 
tive role in the construction of the future of humanity. 

There is no doubt that the Arab circle is the most 
important and the most closely connected with us. Its 



1 






56 

history merges with ours. We have suffered the same 
hardships, lived the same crises and, when we fell pros- 
trate under the spikes of the horses of conquerors, they 
lay prostrate with us. 

Religion also fused this circle with us. The centres 
of religious enlightenment radiated from Mecca, from 
Koufa and later from Cairo. 

These were also collected in an environment in which 
all these historic, spiritual and material factors are 
closely knitted. As far as I am concerned, I remember 
that the first elements of Arab consciousness began to 
filter into my mind as a student in secondary schools, 
from where I went out with my fellow schoolboys on 
strike on December 2nd of every year as a protest against 
the Balfour Declaration by which England gave the Jews 
a national home usurped unjustly from its legal owners. 

When I asked myself at that time why I left my 
school enthusiastically and why I was angry for this land 
which I never saw I could not find an answer except the 
echoes of sentiment. Later a form of comprehension of 
this subject began when I was a cadet in the Military 
College studying the Palestine campaigns in particular 
and the history and conditions of this region in general, 
which rendered it, throughout the last century, an easy 
prey ravaged by the claws of a pack of hungry beasts. 

My comprehension began to be clearer as the foun- 
dation of its facts stood out when I began to study, as 
a student in the Staff College, the Palestine campaign 
and the problems of the Mediterranean in greater detail. 



m 



And when the Palestine crisis loomed on the horizon 
I was firmly convinced that the fighting in Palestine 
was not fighting on foreign territory. Nor was it in- 
spired by sentiment. It was a duty imposed by self- 
defense. 

* 

I remember one day, after the partition of Palestine 
was declared in September 1947, the Liberal Officers held 
a meeting during which they decided to assist the resist- 
ance movement in Palestine. The next day I went to 
the house of Hadj Amin El Husseini, the Mufti of Pales- 
tine, who lived in Zeitoun then. I said to him, "Ydu need 
officers to direct battles, and to train volunteers. There 
are a great number of officers in the Egyptian Army 
who would like to volunteer. They are at your disposal 
any time you require." Hadj Amin expressed admiration 
of the spirit but the thought he would ask permission 
of the Egyptian Government before he said anything. He 
said to me, "I shall give you my reply after I have re- 
ceived the permission of the Egyptian Government." I 
went back to him after a few days. The answer he re- 
ceived from the Egyptian Government was refusal. 

But we did not remain silent. Later the artillery of 
Ahmed Abdel Aziz began to hammer the Jewish colonies 
south of Jerusalem. The artillery officer in charge was 
Kamal El Dine Hussein, a member of the constituent 
committee of the Liberal Officers, which has now be- 
come the Council of the Revolution. 

I also recall another secret which was the most valued 
by the liberal officers. Hassan Ibrahim had left for 



58 

Damascus, where he contacted some officers of Fawzy 
El Kawookgy. El Kawookgy was then the commander 
of the forces of Arab Liberation, and was preparing a 
decisive battle in the northern zone of Palestine. Hassan 
and Abdel Latif El Boghdadi drew up an audacious plan 
for a decisive action in the battle, for which the Libera- 
tion forces were then preparing. The main lines of this 
plan were: That the Arab Liberation Forces had no 
planes to support them in the battle and tilt the balance 
of victory in their favour. Had they had a supporting 
force from the air, which would bombard the focus of 
the operation from above, it would have been a deciding- 
factor. But where could the Liberation Forces get the 
planes to fulfil this dream? 

Hassan Ibrahim and Abdul Latif El Boghdadi did not 
hesitate to say that the Egyptian Air Force should per- 
form this consignment. But how? Egypt was not yet 
in the Palestine War. Supervision over the Armed 
Forces, including the Air Force, was close and alert. 
Yet despair could not penetrate into the details of this 
plan. A wonderful movement began in the aerodrome of 
the Air Force. Tremendous energy for the repair and 
the preparation of planes was noticeable. Remarkable 
efforts for training and exercise spread like wildfire 
among the pilots; and very few knew the secret. Those 
who did, understood that the planes and the pilots were 
getting ready for the day when a secret signal would 
come from Syria. They would then fly full out to take 
part in the decisive battle for the Holy Land. They 
would proceed to an aerodrome near Damascus, where 
they would land and await the repercussions in Egypt 



59' 



and hear the echoes of this movement they had embark- 
ed upon; after that they would decide which course to 
take. The most favourable possibility was that every 
pilot who took part in the operation would be court-mar- 
tialled. Many had already planned their lives if circum- 
stances stood between them and the return to the Mother 
Country for a number of years. 

The feeling of the Executive Committee of the Liberal 
Officers, which was emphatically the feeling entertained 
by every pilot who took part in this daring plan, was 
neither love of adventure nor a reaction of sentiment. It 
was a remarkable consciousness of our fate, that Rafah 
was not the ast boundary of our country and that our 
sphere of security compelled us to defend the frontiers 
of our brethren, with whom we were destined to live toge- 
ther in one region. 

The plan did not materialise then because we did not 
get the secret signal from Syria. Later, circumstances 
necessitated that all Arab armies should enter the Pales- 
tine War. 

I do not want now to discuss the details of the Pales- 
tine War. This is a subject that needs several many- 
sided discussions. But one strange lesson of the Pales- 
tine War I will mention: The Arab nations entered the 
Palestine War with the same degree of enthusiasm. They 
all shared the same feelings and knew quite well the 
limits of their security. They came out of the war with 
the same bitterness and frustration. Everyone of them 









60 



was thus exposed, in its own country, to the same factors 
and was governed by the same forces, that caused their 
defeat and made them bow their heads low with shame 
and humiliation. 

I sat by myself several times in the trenches and dug- 
outs of Iraq-el-Manshia. I was then the staff -officer of 
the Sixth Company, which held this sector, defended it 
sometimes and used it for attack then. 

I used to walk amidst the ruins all around me, which 
were left after the bombardments of the enemy. There 
I travelled far in my imagination. My voyage took me 
to the sphere of the stars, where 1 would regard the 
Whole area from my great height above. The picture 
lay before me at that time quite clear. Here was the 
place where we lay besieged. There were the posts of 
our company and those of other companies that shared 
the same lines with us. Beyond were the enemy forces 
surrounding us. In other places there were other forces 
of ours besieged also and unable to move, and with room 
only to manoeuvre on a small scale. 

The political circumstances prevailing in the capital 
from which we received our orders threw round us all a 
siege more effective and paralysed us more than any- 
thing the enemy could do to us as we lay in Falouga. 

There were also the forces of our brothers-in-arms in. 
the big Home Land, with a common interest and a com- 
mon motive that sent us rushing to the land of Palestine. 
There were the armies of our brethren, which were also 
our armies, all besieged by the circumstances that sur- 



61 



rounded them and their governments. They all seemed 
like pawns Ln a game of chess, powerless and without 
will, except in so far as the hands of players move them. 

AIL our nations seemed, beyond our rear-lines, the 
victims of a tightly-woven conspiracy which deliberately 
concealed from their eyes the facts of events and mis- 
guided them beyond self -recognition. 

From the height of the stars above I used to come 
down to earth often and feel that I was really defending 
my home and my children. Neither my dreams, nor the 
capitals, the states, the peoples, nor history meant any- 
thing to me then. This was how I felt when, in my 
wanderinis, I came upon the children of refugees who 
were caught in the tentacles of the siege after their 
homes had been demolished and their property lost. I 
particularly remember a young girl of the same age as 
my daughter. I saw her rushing out, amidst danger and 
stray bullets and, bitten by the pangs of hunger and cold, 
looking for a crust of bread or a rag of cloth. I always 
said to myself, "This may happen to my daughter." I 
believe that what was happening in Palestine could hap- 
pen, and may still happen today, in any part of this 
region, as long as it resigns itself to the factors and the 
forces which dominate now. 



After the siege and the battles in Palestine I came 
home with the whole region in my mind one complete 
whole. The events that followed confirmed this belief 
in me. As I pursued the developments of the situation 
I found nothing but echoes responding one to the other. 



62 

In event may happen in Cairo today; it is repeated in 
Damascus, Beirut, Amman or any other place tomorrow. 
This was naturally in conformity with the picture that 
experience had left within me: One region, the same fac- 
tors and circumstances, even the same forces opposing 
them all. It was clear that imperialism was the most 
prominent of these forces; even Israel itself was but one 
of the outcomes of imperialism. If it had not fallen under 
British mandate Zionism could not have found the neces- 
sary support to realise the idea of a national home in 
Palestine. That idea would have remained a foolish vi- 
sion, without hope of realisation. 

As I put down these impressions, I have before me 
the memoirs of Chaim Weizmann, the President of the 
Republic of Israel and its real founder. These memoirs 
were published in his famous book called "Trial and 
Error". They contain certain passages worthy of consi- 
deration on account of the particular stamp they bear. 
I pause at the following: "It was essential," Weizmann 
wrote, "that a big power should assist us. There were 
two great powers in the world who could give us this 
assistance: Germany and Britain. 



"As for Germany, it preferred to keep away and avoid 
any intervention. Britain was sympathetic and patron- 
ising." 

Again I pause as I behold Weizmann saying, "It hap- 
pened during the Sixth Zionist Conference which we held 
in Switzerland that Hertzel stood declaring that great 



63 

Britain only, of all the states of the world, has recognised 
the Jews as a nation in an independent form and apart 
from others." "We, the Jews," he continued, "are worthy 
of having a home and being a state. Hertzel then read 
a letter to that effect from Lord Latterson on behalf of 
the British Government. In this letter Lord Latterson 
offered us the territory of Uganda to be a National 
Home. The members of the Conference accepted the 
offer. After that we suppressed and checkmated this 
proposal at its early stage and buried it without clamour. 
Britain again sought to satisfy us. After this proposal 
we formed a commission of a considerable number of 
Jewish savants, who proceeded to Cairo to study the ter- 
ritory of Sinai. There they met Lord Cromer, who 
sympathised with our aspiration to achieve a national 
home. Later, I met Lord Balfour, the British Foreign 
Secretary, who hastened to ask me, 'Why didn't you 
accept Uganda as a National Home?' I replied that 
Zionism is a national and political movement is true but 
there is also the spiritual side which we cannot overlook. 
I am certain that if we ignore the spiritual aspect we 
shall not be able to realise our political and national vi- 
sion. I also asked Balfour, 'What would you do if some- 
body would suggest you take Paris instead of London? 
Would you accept?'" 

I also ponder over another passage in Weizmann. "In 
the Autumn of 1921 I returned to London where I was 
called to supervise the drafting of the covenant of the 
British Mandate in Palestine. The rough draft should 
have been submitted to the League of Nations in order 
that it might adopt a resolution upon it. Afterwards the 



— ■ . ' . - 1 



64 

Conference of St Remo approved the very idea of the 

Mandate, 

, Lord Curzon had then replaced ^ Lord J*^ 
Foreign Secretary ; and J£^£ ^efwas the 

tag of tte c °^ na ^ ohe Y" of the ablest authors of 
Great Jurist Ibn Cohen, one 01 Q^^a sec- 

Legal Formulae in the worli ^^ mterence ^ 
retary also cooperated wrth u^ We ^ 

Curzon, a difference which was tne 

, , ■ +,,_ droit of the covenant a 
"We had recorded ir the draft ot ^ 

clause pledging Bntam ■» ^J^ shmld „, on the 
demanding that its policy in ^ e 

basis of a National Home of the Jews. J^JJJ of 
clause we wrote was as follows: And th ^^ pro - 

the Jews and their historic relations with Palestine 

I wish to continue quoting from Weizmann's "Trial 
and J^or' but we know that these old incident , w«e 
rte fi£t eerms of the dreadful repercussions that tore 
«e StTshreds and destroyed its very e^stence. 

I now revert to what I was discussing, «M*.W 
tajer.lism is t^^J^S « 2 
re e crrrnrS e ar a ounTus in « ™^ 
^armies and our governments in their capttals, from 
v/here we received our orders. 



65 



After these facts became established within me, I 
began to believe in one common struggle and repeat to 
myself, "As long as the region is one, with its conditions, 
its problems and its future, and even the enemy is the 
same, however different are the masks it covers its face 
with, why should we dissipate our efforts?" The experi- 
ence of what followed July 23rd increased my faith in a 
united struggle and its necessity. The secret of the pic- 
ture began to reveal itself and the darkness which 
shrouded its details began to disappear. 

I confess I also began to visualise the great obstacles 
that blocked the way of a united struggle. But I also 
believe that these stumbling blocks should be removed 
because they are the work of the one and the same ene- 
my. I undertook lately a series of political contacts with 
the object of unifying the struggle whatever might be 
the means. I came out of these contacts with an impor- 
tant result, namely, that the primary obstacle in our 
path is "suspicion". The seeds of that suspicion were 
sown in us by the common enemy in order to stand 
between us and the united struggle. 

I recollect that one day, I sat talking with an Arab 
politician and a colleague of his. As he replied to me he 
turned to his colleague to find out the efforts of his 
answer before he tried to discover its result on me. I 
said to him, "Overcome all suspicion you have and pour 
out to me all the contents of your heart; look me in the 
face and regard me in the eye." I do not mean to lighten 
the obstacles that lie between us and the unification of 
the struggle. Some of them are intricate and have roots 



66 



deep in the environment and the historical and geograph- 
ical circumstances which involve them. But is it certain 
that, with a certain amount of elasticity derived from 
far-sightedness and not from negligence, we can find the 
position we should all take without embarrassment or 
pertinacity in order to face the united struggle. 

I do not hesitate for one moment to mention that our 
united struggle could achieve for us and our peoples 
everything we wish and aspire to; I shall always go on 
saying that we are strong but the great catastrophe is 
that we do not know the extent of our strength. 

We make a mistake in our definition of power. Power 
is not merely shouting aloud. Power is to act positively 
with all the components of power. 

When I attempt to analyse the components of our 
power I cannot help pointing out three principal forces 
of power which should be the first to be taken into 
account. 

The first source is that we are a group of neighbour- 
ing peoples joined together with such spiritual and 
material bonds as join any group of peoples. Our peoples 
have traits, components and civilisation, in whose atmo- 
sphere the three sacred and heavenly creeds have origin- 
ated. This cannot be altogether ignored in any effort at 
reconstructing a stable world in which peace prevails. 

As for the second source, it is our territory itself and 
the position it has on the map of the world, that im- 
portant strategic situation which can be rightly consider- 
ed the meeting-place, the crossroads and the military 
corridor of the world. 



67 



The third source is petroleum, which is the vital nerve 
of civilisation, without which none of its means can exist, 
neither huge works for production, nor modes of commu- 
nication by land sea and air, nor weapons of war, whether 
they are planes flying above the clouds or submarines 
submerged under layers of water. All these, without 
petroleum, would become mere pieces of iron, rusty, mo- 
tionless and lifeless, * 'V 

I. wish I could linger a while and discuss petroleum. 
Its existence, as a material fact established by statistics 
and figures, makes it a worthy model for a discussion of 
the importance of the sources of power in our countries. 

I have read lately a treatise published by Chicago 
University on the state of petroleum. I wish every indi- 
vidual of our people could read it, ponder upon its mean- 
ings and give free play to his mind to realise the great 
significance which lies behind figures and statistics. This 
treatise shows, for example, that to extract the petrol of 
Arab countries woud not cost a great deal of money. 

Petrol companies have spent sixty million dollars in 
Columbia since 1916 and did not find a drop of oil until 
1936 . These companies also spent 44 million dollars in 
Venezuela and did not find a drop of oil until after 15 
years. 

These companies again spent 30 million dollars in the 
Dutch East Indies and did not strike oil until very 
recently. 

The final result which this treatise proved in this 
subject is as follows: 



69 



68 

Th e capital necessary for extracting one tat£ of 
petro! in le Arab countries is ten cente. Jb»^ 
S production has shifted from the U.SA w 
wells have been exhausted, where the price_ of 
exorbitant, and where wages of workers are high, 
territory, where the wells are «*«^^^ a ^ d 
state where expensive land can be had for notn g 
WW labour accepts subsistence wages. 

« is a fact that half the world's reserve of ^ =troleum 
is still underground in the Arab regions and the se^ 
half is distributed among the U.S.A Russia, 
San and other countries of the world. 

It is also established that the average output of one 
well of oil per day is as follows: 

11 barrels in U.S.A. 



230 



barrels in Venezuela 



4000 barrels in the Arab region. 

I hope I have succeeded in explaining clearly the 
de^e £ importance of this element of power. 

we can consider ourselves, therefore powerful 

though not in *^«££r 1 £5:z& 

wail, or appeal for help, but powertm wn 

and count in figures ^^Tl s^eS ot this bond 
our thorough understanding of the strength ^o 
which links us and which makes our territory on 



None of its component parts could be isolated from 
the other; none could be as independent as ah island, 
unconnected with the other parts. 

Such is the first circle in which we must revolve and 
attempt to move as much as we possibly can. It is the 
Arab circle. 

If we direct our attention after that to the second 
circle, the circle of the continent of Africa, I would say, 
without exaggeration, that we cannot, even if we wish to, 
in any way stand aside, from the sanguinary and dread- 
ful struggle now raging in the heart of Africa between 
five million whites and two hundred million Africans. 

We cannot do so for one principal and clear reason, 
namely that we are in Africa. The people of Africa will 
continue to look up to us, who guard the northern gate 
of the continent and who are its connecting link with the 
world outside. We cannot, under any condition, relin- 
quish our responsibility in helping, in every way possible, 
to diffuse the light of civilisation into the farthest parts 
of that virgin jungle. 

There is another important reason. The Nile is the 
artery of life of our country. It draws its supply of 
water from the heart of the continent. 

There remains the Sudan, our belaved brother, whose 
boundaries extend deeply into Africa and which is a 
neighbour to all the sensitive spots in the centre of the 
continent. 



70 



It is a certain fact that Africa at present is the scene 
of an exciting ebullition. The white man, representing 
several European countries, is trying again to repartition 
the continent. We cannot stand aside in face of what is 
taking place in Africa on the assumption that it does not 
concern or affect us. 

I shall continue to dream of the day when I see in 
Cairo a great institute for exploring all parts of this con- 
tinent, arousing in our minds an enlightening and real 
consciousness and contributing with others in the differ- 
ent centres of the world, towards the progress and pros- 
perity of Africa. 

The third circle now remains: the circle that goes 
beyond continents and oceans and which I referred to 
as the circle of our brethren in faith who turn with us, 
whatever part of the world they are in, towards the same 
Kibla in Mecca, and whose pious lips whisper reverently 
the same prayers. 

My faith in the positive efficacy which can be the out- 
come of further strengthening the Islamic bonds with all 
other Moslems became deeper when I went to the Saudi 
Kingdom with the Egyptian mission who offered condol- 
ences on the death of its late King. 

As I stood in front of the Kaaba and felt my senti- 
ments wandering with every part of the world where 
Islam had extended, I found myself exclaiming, "Our idea 
of the pilgrimage should change. Going to the Kaaba 
should never be a passport to heaven after a lengthy life. 



Neither should it be a simple effort to buy indulgences 
after an eventful life. The pilgrimage should be a great 
political power. The press of the world should follow its 
news; not as a series of rituals and traditions which are 
done to amuse and entertain readers, but as a regular 
political congress wherein the leaders of Moslem states, 
their public men, their pioneers in every field of know- 
ledge, their writers, their leading industrialists, mer- 
chants and youth meet to draw up in this universal 
Islamic Parliament the main lines of policy for their 
countries and their cooperation together until they meet 
again. They should meet reverently, strong, free from 
greed but active, submissive to the Lord but powerful 
against their difficulties and their enemies, dreaming of 
a new life, firm believers that they have a place under the 
sun which they should occupy for life. 

I recall I expressed some of these sentiments to His 
Majesty Kind Saoud. He said to me, "This is the real 
wisdom of the pilgrimage." Verily I cannot visualise a 
higher wisdom. 



When my mind travels to the eighty million Moslems 
in Indonesia, the fifty million in China and the several 
other million in Malaya, Siam and Burma and the hundred 
million in Pakistan, the hundred million or more in the 
Middle East and the forty million in Russia, as well as 
the other millions in the distant parts of the world, when 
I visualise these millions united in one faith, I have a 
great consciousness of the tremendous potentialities that 
cooperation amongst them all can achieve: a cooperation 



72 

that does not deprive them of their loyalty to their coun- 
tries but which guarantees for them and their brethren 
a limitless power. 

I now revert to the wandering role that seeks an actor 
to perform it Such is the role, such are its features and 
such is its stage. 

We, and only we, are impelled by our environment 
and- are capable of performing this role. 






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